Viking has reached a milestone in its expansion in the expedition cruise market as it floated out the first of two new expeditions ships – the 378-guest Viking Octantis -Tuesday.
Scheduled to debut in early 2022, Viking Octantis will spend her maiden season sailing voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A second, identical expedition ship, Viking Polaris, is set to debut in summer 2022 and will sail journeys to Antarctica and the Arctic.
“Working with Fincantieri over the last eight years, we have built the world’s most beautiful ocean ships. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Fincantieri’s VARD and celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our first expedition vessel,” said Viking chairman Torstein Hage.
“In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America. Viking Octantis and her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will allow our guests to explore further – to the ends of the earth as well as closer to home. I would like to thank our partners at VARD and everyone working at the yard for the hard work and dedication on the building of Viking Octantis; we look forward to welcoming her to our fleet in early 2022.”
The float out marks arrival at the final stage of construction and following the ceremony the ship was then moved to a nearby outfitting dock for further construction and interior build-out. After final outfitting, Viking Octantis will be delivered at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway.
Polar regions and Great Lakes
Explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honored as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles.
Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water , an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow.
The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will each host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. The ships are sized and built for expeditions – small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas.
A series of short videos about the new expedition voyages, ship design and scientific partnerships, can be found on Viking’s website here .
Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris – Onboard research teams and military zodiacs
The ships will feature an enclosed, in-ship marina that permits the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s multiple shell doors, a fleet of military pro zodiacs designed for professional use in the harshest of environments; a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible RIBs. Each ship will also feature two six-guest submarines that feature revolving seats and a 270-degree spherical window for undersea viewing.
The ships will also host laboratories with an onboard team of scientists that will be equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments. Guests will have supervised access to The Laboratory, which is located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine.